In a very post-COVID, 21st century move, one of Canberra's most distinguished citizens, Emeritus Professor Malcolm Whyte celebrated turning 100 by hosting a Zoom party.
"It was fantastic," he said, with a wide smile, from his home at Mirinjani independent living units in Weston on Friday.
Guests gathered online from around the world on the night of Halloween to fete a humble and good-humoured man who also happened to be a groundbreaking scientist and the first chair of Canberra Lifeline.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra performed Happy Birthday for him, with artistic director Richard Tognetti sending a personal message through the screen.
Professor Peter Kanowski, national secretary for the Rhodes Trust, appeared to offer his good wishes and confirm Professor Whyte was likely the oldest surviving Rhodes scholar in the southern hemisphere, and possibly the world.
Noble Prize winner and Australian National University vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt was another speaker at the Zoom party, honouring Professor Whyte who was the foundation professor at the The John Curtin School of Medical Research.
His 100th party was supposed to be held at University House, but that was cruelled by the January hailstorm and then at the yacht club, but coronavirus put an end to that.
A "planning committee" including his former wife and best friend Judy Angus was determined the show would go on, so Zoom became the answer, the party taking place on October 31, a few days after he reached his century.
Professor Whyte's brilliant life started on October 26, 1920 in the unlikely place of Jammalamadugu in South India.
The son of missionaries, Professor Whyte spent the first eight years of his life in India.
"I think that accounts for me not being a racist," he said.
"My first playmates were black. Now my only Indian-ness is that I am the only person in the world who can recite Humpty Dumpty in Telugu."
Down-to-earth with an impish sense of humour, it's clear Professor Whyte is as proud of that achievement as any.
He went to school in Ipswich and studied at the University of Queensland, his studies interrupted by World War II. He served with the army in Borneo and the Celebes.
"One of the letters that was read out [at the party], aside from the Queen's and the Governor-General's, was a letter from the Minister for Veterans Affairs, which made it sound as if I had won the war," Professor Whyte deadpanned.
An empathetic man, Professor Whyte was the first chairman of Lifeline Canberra in 1971 and also trained as a telephone counsellor.
"Lifeline has been a marvellous experience," he said.
"Probably done just as much good, if not more, for the people who went through the training course. It helped them find themselves."
In the mid-70s, he switched careers to focus more on community health, spearheading drug and alcohol counselling in Canberra.
"People used to say to us, 'Oh, it must be terribly disappointing working with junkies and so on'. We used to say, 'No, no, we're 100 per cent successful because we aim to sow seeds'. We sow seeds and if people were ready, they might flourish. But not in our time, perhaps."
So, how does he feel to be 100?
"Ah, no different," he said, gently.
"I think of a Buddhist saying, 'Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water'.
"I've likened turning 100 to crossing the equator. There's a bit of ceremony and fun and everything else, but it didn't hurt. There was no bump."
He is father to Bruce and Christine with first wife Peg (nee Lamont), stepfather to Denby, Rosie and Kate and also a grandfather and great-grandfather.
His days are still busy, meeting up with friends. He is proud to live on the first floor at Mirinjani, so he always has to take the stairs.
And Professor Whyte it not going anywhere. He has renewed his driver's licence for another five years.